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Sat Jun 15, 2019, 11:47 AM

Dangerous skin bleaching has become a public health crisis. Corporate marketing lies behind it.

Source: Washington Post

Dangerous skin bleaching has become a public health crisis. Corporate marketing lies behind it.

As a result, when African nations ban bleaching products, the bans will probably backfire

By Ramya M. Vijaya June 15 at 7:00 AM

In the past several years, multinational corporations have heavily marketed the idea that lighter skin leads to more prosperity. As a result, dangerous skin bleaching has become a public health crisis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In response, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) recently passed a resolution recommending a regional ban on cosmetics with hydroquinone, a skin-bleaching agent — a ban that looks likely to pass. Several countries, including Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa and Sudan, have also banned bleaching cosmetics in recent months.

Despite these warnings and bans, the skin-whitening industry has experienced phenomenal growth in parts of Asia and Africa in recent years. A WHO report found that nearly 77 percent of Nigerian women reported using skin-lightening products regularly. In India, 61 percent of the skin-care market consisted of skin-lightening products. Analysts project still more growth in years to come. However, in my research on the cosmetic industry’s global colorism marketing, I found that banning bleaching agents is counterproductive and might exacerbate the crisis, as I explain below.

Market research shows continued, exponential growth in the global market for skin-whitening products. One forecast projects the industry to reach about $24 billion in value by 2027. Another puts the figure at $31.2 billion by the year 2024. Multinational brands Unilever, Beiersdorf and L’Oreal are the three dominant players in this industry globally. In India and Nigeria, the two country case studies in my chapter in the book “Race in the Marketplace,” Unilever and Beiersdorf have the largest market shares respectively. The dominance of multinational corporations in the industry is creating a new dynamic in colorism, the preference for lighter skin tones even among nonwhite majority populations. Their marketing is amplifying colonial-era associations of power and privilege with white skin already embedded in parts of Asia and Africa.

Attempting to cash in on a growing, aspirational middle-class consumer base in these regions, companies use advertising to link lighter skin with perceptions of not just beauty but also socioeconomic mobility.

In the early 2000s, Unilever began airing what became a notorious commercial for its Fair and Lovely whitening cream on Indian television. ...

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/15/dangerous-skin-bleaching-has-become-public-health-crisis-corporate-marketing-lies-behind-it/

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Reply Dangerous skin bleaching has become a public health crisis. Corporate marketing lies behind it. (Original post)
Eugene Jun 2019 OP
no_hypocrisy Jun 2019 #1

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sat Jun 15, 2019, 01:59 PM

1. This nonsense has been going on for more than a century.

I remember this chapter in (the orignal) Dr. Doolittle where he bleaches the face of an African prince who desperately wants to be white.

Here's the passage: https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/221/the-story-of-doctor-dolittle/5625/chapter-11-the-black-prince/

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